Narcissism specialists say that we have two choices when dealing with narcissists and those on the narcissistic spectrum: live on their terms or go “no contact.” I suggest we have a third option: walk through the chaos and confusion armed with new strategies and coping skills and protected by solid, healthy boundaries.
In my own recovery journey, reading, researching, and working through various therapies eventually led me into Narcissism Awareness Grief (NAG). I finally acknowledged my negative, traumatic childhood experiences and learned how, unhealed, they affected my adult relationships. I diligently worked through the stages of NAG and continued learning new coping skills like setting boundaries, positively emotionally detaching, and practicing strategic communication. As I found my voice and spoke my truth, my confidence and self-esteem grew. I began feeling whole and worthy for the first time in my life.
If you’ve read “Lemon Moms: A Guide to Understand and Survive Maternal Narcissism,” you know that one of the ways my mother manipulated and controlled me as a child was to use the fear of abandonment. She threatened to give me away, put me in an orphanage, or send me to live with my father, whom she repeatedly said: “didn’t love us or want anything to do with us.” I lived in constant fear of doing the “right thing,” whatever the right thing was at any particular time. “The right thing” could and did change without warning, so I needed to remain constantly alert for changes in her tone of voice, behavior, and our home environment.